Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Moving along to Maine and averting another disaster

We are now in Trenton, ME with our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road (Fast and Loose). Our trip here took us to Indiana where Glenda was able to catch up with her cousin, Janice and her daughter. Glenda hadn't seen either of them for more years than they want to admit. Janice lives with her daughter and husband just outside the Indianapolis area. Beautiful home and community. After some visiting we had a nice meal at Cracker Barrel near by. Wonderful folks and so glad we had the opportunity to see them as we moved east.

Glenda and Janice

Janice and Loretta

We had a schedule to keep so we only had one day to spend there but we enjoyed the time we had.

Then we moved on to Ohio and stopped one night at Zanesville. As we moved along we were trying to pick up states that we haven't stayed in before so Ohio was on the list. Well, as I wrote before we have had issues with our brake lines breaking on the rig. On our way we again had a brake line break which means we had no brakes on the trailer again. I called ahead when we stopped for a potty break and found a brake shop that could make a new brake line. We got set up and I drove to the shop where they took good care of us and even made a spare. I installed the brake line and found the one Dave and I had repaired previously had a leak so the spare came in handy to repair that one too. Disaster averted for now.

The next day we moved on to WV and the Bulltown COE. Very nice park with a beautiful lake. The only draw back was there was no cellphone reception. The only way to get a signal was to stand in a very certain spot in the campground and hold still to get anything more than 1x signal.


We noticed that the sites were pretty close together for a COE park and it was extremely busy. That, however, is not that odd because COE parks are on lakes and there is a lot of activity with boating, fishing and swimming. The weather was very hot and humid and we had off and on rain but the campground was a nice quiet place. 


After a 4 night stop we headed on to MD and the Little Bennett Regional Park near Fredericksburg. 

Our reason for this stop was to get MD on our map and to spend a day in Washington, DC. We even drove the truck into town. I called a Marriott hotel in town and asked if they had guest parking for the day even though we weren't staying there. They did for $20. This was a bargain compared to the public parking and we couldn't fit in the parking garages anyway. 

We had only one day to spend in Washington DC so we took a bus tour that took us to the major parts of town and even a stop at Arlington National Cemetery. 

We took a taxi to Union Station and had a bite to eat while we waited for the next trolley to start the whirlwind day tour.



We got tired of waiting for the next trolley so we walked over by the Capitol Building. 


We found another stop for the trolley and there was one there so we jumped on and began the tour. Our guide was very entertaining and we saw a lot in a short time. This tour gave us an opportunity to see many iconic buildings and areas and what we might want to get a closer look at before leaving that day. 

Jefferson Memorial




Had to get a selfie with the Washington Monument in the background. 

We didn't have time to go through the Smithsonian or any other museums or government buildings but we did enjoy our day in Washington DC. 

The most enjoyable time was a tour through Arlington Cemetery and seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I had no idea how many graves there are in that cemetery. It really gives you a perspective of how many have fought and died for our country. Especially those from the Civil War and WWII. 

The Seabees

Memorial to women in the military

Rows and rows of graves

Memorial to the Air Force

Memorial to the Coast Guard


The Boy Scouts were holding their Jamboree in the Capitol so they were there to assist in some of the changing of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 



As we sere riding the trolley around the cemetery we happened to see a couple old friends from IL.

Kelly and Betty

We hadn't seen them for a couple years with our new lifestyle. What a coincidence. 

We stopped on the way back to get our truck , at the White House and the Washington Monument. 



This is one place we would like to come back to see again in the future. It would take many days to get a true flavor of Washington DC. 

Next on the list of our travel in the east was Delaware and Cape Henlopen SP. Glenda had read a book as a young girl about the wild horses on Assateague Island. Cape Henlopen was very close and a beautiful place to stay.

We had a nice pull through with E/W. Good privacy even with all the families and kids in the park.  


Lots of trails for walking and biking and even a nice beach which we took advantage of while there. 




Much history in the area too. There was Fort Miles where a gun battery detail was that protected the east coast. 




We even found a couple of Geocaches in the area. Another place we would come back too. 

We also enjoyed a great meal in the little town of Lewes, DE. Pronounced...Louis.



We took a day trip to Assateague Island and saw the fabled wild horses along the road and even as we drove through a couple of campground loops. 

Visitors Center

State Park



National Seashore


There were numerous signs cautioning people about getting too close or feeding the horses.

We even saw a horse with a passenger on its back. 


Assateague Island even has a popular beach and campground in both the State Park and National Park.




The book that started it all for Glenda

This area would be a wonderful place to come back to and we even saw a few camp sites that our rig would fit into. We'll see. 

On we go into NJ. We stopped at a KOA near Philadelphia which was across the river from our park in Clarksboro, NJ. It was an overnight stop so not much to talk about except the traffic and the roads.

The roads in NJ are some of the worse we've been on. I can understand the roads in Louisiana where they have a more rural and lower income population but I 95 is the worst. 

We hit some potholes that jarred us to the teeth. This lead to another averted disaster that we didn't even know we had. I'll talk about that soon.

After NJ and skirting around NYC by taking the Tappen Zee Bridge instead of the George Washington Bridge through NYC we stopped in Connecticut at the Nickerson Family Campground. 

Again another new state for us on our map. WE had a couple night to spend there so we decided to make a day trip to Mystic, CT. Famous for the Mystic Pizza and the movie. It's a very touristy town with an incredible Maritime history. We had a great meal downtown and even stopped to get some baked goods at a local bake shop. 







We walked among the crowds and looked in a few shops and crossed the drawbridge across the Mystic River. 






Very interesting area and picturesque. Would love to have one of the boats we saw and/or a condo on the river. 

We were too full from our seafood meal at S&P Oyster House to get a slice of pizza at Mystic Pizza but we did walk by and I got a couple of photos. 



Very busy place and I was told that the pizza is very tasty. If we get back that way, we'll give it a try. 

Getting to Mystic was fairly easy and they even had free parking near the Mystic Seashore.

Well on we go into Rhode Island and another new state for us. WE had a reservation at Echo Lake Campground near Pascoag, RI. However when we got to the campground they told us they only had 20 amp service and the site they assigned us wouldn't accommodate even a trailer half or size. It was in between a series of trees in a field. There was not way we could fit and they charged $45/night. 

We turned around in the campground and stopped at the office and got our money back, called the RV park in our next state...Massachusetts and continued on down the road. Fortunately we had only traveled about 40 miles from CT to RI and then it was only another 60 miles to MA and our next stop at Boston Minuteman RV park. Our friends say we can't count RI as a state since we didn't stay overnight but with the aggravation and inconvenience.....WE ARE. Sorry. 

OK, moving on. The park in MA couldn't give us our reserved site for an extra night so we had to go to a different site and then switch the last night to our original site. I know, confusing but it all worked out. 

We arrived and they had an escort in a golf cart show us the site and even helped us back the trailer in. Right near the pool but very private. It was even close to the laundry and we had to do some of that while there. Nice shade and easy to get to a Metro to go to Boston for some sightseeing. 



We had 4 nights at the Boston Minuteman park so we did some grocery shopping and dealt with another issue. 

Ok, I mentioned that while in Zanesville, OH I replaced a broken brake line well it broke again on the way somewhere between Zanesville and our Boston stop. 

Again I looked up a brake shop and found one not too far away. They were able to make a couple more brake lines for me and I replaced and re bled the brakes. However while under the rig I noticed something strange with the wheels on each side of the rig. We have tow axles to carry the load of our rig. I noticed the wheels on the right side were much closer together compared with the left side. This also helped me understand why, when I looked back in the side mirror as we went down the road the trailer was slightly more visible on the right side. 

I was thinking the shackles had gotten flipped to cause the wheels to come together. That was not the case and I will give more details later in this post. 

So after we fixed brakes, did laundry and grocery shopping over the first couple days we finally found our way to the Metro and rode the train into Boston for another whirlwind tour of the city. 

The train ride was only about an hour and took us to the North Station in town. We walked to the Welcome Center down by the Long Wharf and boarded a trolley for our tour of Boston. Again we had an entertaining tour guide and learned a lot about the city of Boston and the Wharf area.

We saw a Columbian Naval Vessel in the harbor, took a harbor tour, and several areas where luxury condos have been built. I wish we would have had more time to explore but we did get to eat some seafood and saw the more iconic areas like Paul Reveres home, Little Italy and enjoyed some Italian pastry like Cannoli's and some Boston Cream Pie. 






This is the tour boat where we learned about the different parts of downtown Boston. The tour was about an hour. We enjoyed seeing Boston from the water. 



Columbian Naval Vessel

USS Constitution


The last sights we saw in Boston were Paul Reveres Home and we had some pastries from Modern Pastry. So much to see and do.





After our stay in the Boston area, we headed to lower Maine and Wassamki Springs Campground. This was a stop to see an old teenage friend, Leah and her husband, Steve. They live in Windham, ME. Leah and my parents were Mississippi River friends. She had moved away from IA to ME near the end of high school. It had been over 50 years since we had seen each other. I had made contact with her through Facebook. We let them know when we got into the campground and made plans for them to come see our home and take us on a tour of Portland. 

Leah and Steve arrived the next day and checked out our home and we headed off for Fort Williams and the Portland Head light. This is a historic fort from the Revolutionary War. You can read more about the Head light and the Fort HERE

The Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in America and the oldest in Maine. When you are there you can see why is photographed so much. Such an iconic place.




We had a great walk around the park there and wonderful views of the ocean. 



After our visit to the Head Light we drove through downtown Portland and to the Old Port area of town. Old Port is the maritime area where the fisherman would dock and sell their catch. They would also stop at the pubs and taverns for drinks after long days at sea.

We had lunch at the Porthole Restaurant along the wharf. We ordered steamed clams, lobster roll and fish and chips.



This area is very touristy now and has been taken over by developers building luxury condos. There are remnants of the old fishing days still there. 

After our tour they dropped us off at home and we made sure to take a couple photos to commemorate our visit. 


I hope we have an opportunity to visit again one day. Thank you for a wonderful day and showing us the right way to eat clams. 

After our fun visit and tour of Portland it was time to continue our movement north in Maine. Our next stop was Bangor, ME. We had reservations at Paul Bunyan Campground. As with most parks and campgrounds we've been to as we moved east and north, there are a number of seasonal campers.

Most of these folks do keep up their sites but some really do not belong there. We had a pull through with some shade and just barely enough open sky for our satellite TV to lock on. Being this high in the US we have to lower our antenna elevation to the extreme to pick up the satellites.

We had 3 days and 4 night there so we did some exploring. First we checked the River walk area down town and found a nice brewery across the river.




The brewery had good pizza and very good beer. I picked up some for my SIL. Paul. 

The next day we decided to do some hiking at the Bangor City Forest. We found our way there and looked at the trail map. They have miles of trails and a boardwalk along a bog. They University of Maine is taking donations to improve the boardwalk so we contributed. The area has a very high water table and the land in some areas is very squishy due to the water level below ground. 


The two photos above show the newer boardwalk

The part needing replacement

Gauge to show the water table below grouond

Pines, moss and shrubs

We had such a great walk along the boardwalk and on through the many trails in the forest..




Our walk on the trails was so peaceful and serene. We felt as though we were the only ones in the park. It was such a great day we decided to go back again on our last day and go even further and explore more trails. That's what we did. It was a perfect find in what you would think is a city setting. 


Of course there were geocaches in the forest




Who wouldn't love this


Time to talk about our wheel and axle concerns. I mentioned earlier that the wheels on one side were much closer together than the other side. I called my friend, Dave and asked his advise. I took some photos and sent them to him.


This shackle was causing the other to tilt

In the second photo you can see the shackle is pushing up against the frame on the right side. Dave thought I should try to use the hydraulics to lift the side of the rig and see if the shackle would right itself.

I tried that and it didn't help. As soon as I lowered the rig back on the ground the shackle tilted again. In addition to this I noticed the front tire was showing abnormal wear. This was really concerning me now. I called a local RV repair shop, explained the problem and they recommended a repair facility called TBA, Inc. They were in Bangor and not to far from the campground. I called them and explained my problem. They told me to bring it over and they would evaluate. Thank goodness we did.

Once we got there one of the techs crawled under the rig and compared each side and found the problem immediately. It turned out that the weld on the rear mount for the rear spring on the right side had sheared off and allowed the axle to move forward. In turn causing the wheels on that side to come closer together.  Now this is a major problem since the spring could have slipped out from under the frame causing the rig to drop onto the wheels. Accident waiting to happen.

I asked if they had ever worked on a 5th wheel...They had.  I asked if they had ever welded a mount like this before...They had.  I asked if they could weld the mount today so we could continue to destination here in Trenton, ME at the Timberland Acres Campground to meet our friends Steve and Debbie...They said they could and it would take about 3-4 hours. I said Please do that.

I gave them the keys to the truck and in about 30 minutes they had pulled the truck and rig into a bay where they could do the pre work and welding. I unhitched the truck and we used the hydraulic levelers to lift the broken side up. When I did that I was amazed and realized how close we came to another disaster.



They got right to work and even recommended a restaurant down the street to have a bite while we waited. Everyone at TBA, Inc was helpful, courteous and truly concerned about helping us. 
http://tbatires.com/  They aren't just about tires, batteries and accessories.

The actual repair itself took only 2 1/2 hours however with the prep and getting into the proper bay to do the work it was a total of 4 hours. I can truly recommend any RV'er having suspension, axle or brake problems to have their work done there. I felt the charge of $202.00 was more than fair and we were able to get this all done the same day and make it to our campground.

I can't thank Josh, Cote and Mike enough for their professionalism and workmanship. 


 We're here at Timberland Acres for the next 7 days. Steve and Debbie are here until tomorrow(Sunday) then they move over to Lamoine SP just a few miles from our park. We're getting familiar with the area right now and there will be a lot to blog about soon. Looking forward to seeing Acadia NP in a couple of days and exploring this beautiful area in NE Maine. I feel like we have turned the corner on our disasters. I think that's three now so that should be it for a while. They say .... they come in threes. Bought a Power Ball ticket today too. I'll let you know what happens.

Thanks for following along. 


8 comments:

  1. You've sure been busy and moving right along. So nice to meet up with friends from our previous lives, then there's also the meeting up with fellow RV'ers, to me that's what makes this lifestyle so much fun. Hopefully your run of brake and suspension issues is over. Have fun in ME and stay out of trouble or call if you need bail money.

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    1. Finally in Maine and enjoying the cooler weather and seafood. Fun seeing folks from our past. So far brakes and suspension are good. We'll keep a close eye on them. I must have a reputation if you think I need bail money. HaHa Thanks Faye and Dave

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  2. Replies
    1. New territory for us and enjoying it even with the averted disasters. Thanks

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  3. You two have been busy but I'm glad to read you avoided two serious problems.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Thanks Rick and Kathy. We have enjoyed the journey so far and good to see folks from the past and meet up with fellow RV'ers too. Slowing down some to explore the NE more for a while.

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  4. Boston and DC, you're seeing some great places! How funny to run into your old friend there. That forest hike looked like fun. Glad you made it here safely! Now it's lobster and lighthouse time!

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  5. Small world meeting old friends for sure. Been a fun ride through the NE states to get to Maine and begin our adventure together. Let's hope we don't have any problems for a little while since I didn't win the Powerball. HaHa

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